Wednesday, April 26, 2017

St. Joseph, the Builder

There is a lot we don't know about Jesus' father.  We learn most about him from the Infancy Narratives from Matthew and Luke, and, as reported here earlier, we know he was a man of incredible faith.

We also know that, as a trade, he was a carpenter and a builder.  But what exactly did he build?  As Jesus' father, we can attest that he helped to build Jesus the man.  Jesus likely learned a trade from Joseph, and, more importantly, likely learned lessons as to how a man sacrifices to take care of the ones he loves.

We don't know how or when Joseph died, but the legacy of the man he helped raise and mold has literally spread to all corners of the world.  

An incredible builder, that St. Joseph.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chipolte: Keeping it Real with Jillian Bell - Musician

Chipolte has a mess on its hands.  About a year ago, an E.coli contamination threatened to completely scuttle the company.  Even now, the brand is nowhere where is used to be, and still appears reeling and unsteady on its feet.

Seeming to want to get things back to normal, they've launched a "keeping it real" campaign featuring "real" conversations with stand-up comings.  Most of them are total misses.  Likewise, it is interesting to see that the campaign designed to salvage the suffering brand as one in which folks need to "keep it real."

Regardless, of the half dozen or so that I've seen, one does stand out:


While it in no way made me feel like I should get up off the couch and get some potentially sketchy Mexican food, I was at least entertained. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Minnesota Wild's Run is Over

It was an interesting year for the Minnesota Wild this year.  The regular season was a juggernaut with the team playing the best professional hockey ever for the franchise.  Consider the following:

  • Minnesota was 49-25-28, second in the Western Conference with a franchise-best 106 points. They set their records for longest winning streak (12, Dec. 4-29) and longest point streak (13 games, 12-0-1), and were second in the NHL with a plus-58 goal differential.  
  • With 13 players scoring at least 10 goals (tied for most in the NHL), Minnesota was second in the NHL with 263 goals.
The team found a way to win, and the puck found a way to cross the line.  It was really fun, but over the past month or so, the team stumbled.  Wins and goals were harder to come by, and that 1st place position they enjoyed got handed over to the hated Chicago Blackhawks.

No worries - the playoffs afforded a new season, and their #2 seeding gave them a good chance for a Cup run.  Unfortunately, nobody told Jake Allen, and the St. Louis goalie stood on his head and held the Wild to 8 goals across 5 games.  While the Wild outshot the Blues 182-133 and got good goaltending, there were not enough goals to move onto the next round and face the Nashville Predators (who had themselves vanquished the hated Blackhawks in a four-game sweep).

In some regards the season feels like a step forward, but the playoff performance adds up to usual Wild futility.  The goal of the NHL is to win the Stanley Cup, and in that effort the Wild failed miserably.

Oh well, at least we have the Twins to follow.  

Oh, wait... 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Monk's Chronicle

If a reader of this space, then you're aware of my affinity and love for Fr. Don and his daily posts from St. John's.  Well, a couple of months ago, I was made aware of another writer from that community who is worthy of your support and readership.

Fr. Eric Hollas writes "A Monk's Chronicle," and writes it wonderfully.  He offers a thought provoking and often times beautiful view of faith, and is a pure joy to read.  My only regret is that he only writes weekly.

I strongly encourage you to check out his site by clicking here, and then signing up for his email distribution.  It's very much worth the read.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Bob Schneider - Mudhouse

This is an awesome, funky song to begin with.  When mashed up with old school Soul Train solo line moves, well, check it out for yourselves:

Ain't got nobody, baby
I can call my shorty

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bill O'Reilly is Toast

Hard to believe, but the biggest voice in all of cable news has been brought silent.  To their credit (albeit very late), Fox conducted its own investigation, and what they turned up could not have been good, as their golden goose was scattered to the wind.  Bill must have known they had the goods as well, as he chose to not put up a fight and just rolled over.

For the life of me, I cannot understand this behavior.  Why treat women so lousy?  Why risk tens of millions a year?  Why not control yourself?  Why?

We'll never know for sure, I guess.  Chalk it up to yet another example of someone in the highest of positions that just couldn't be a decent human being.  

Why is that so damned hard, especially for the most powerful?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Delta's 4:00 AM Ad

I'm a big fan of Delta airlines.  I like their approach to service, I adore their frequent flyer program (although I'll lose my Gold status with them this year), and I massively respect that they're one of the only airlines out there that will deliberately fly around weather systems specifically for passenger comfort.  Most airlines take the shortest distance between two points, and it matters not what kind of hell lies on that line.

I've always preferred to travel early.  I like getting where I'm going, and I like having a day full of options ahead of me in the event that Mother Nature or the mechanical gremlins have something in store.  I just find it easier, and more often than not, find myself on the first flight out in the morning.

That's why I see a lot of myself in this ad:

While my business travel days may have passed me, it was nice to see Delta recognize who I was and what I needed to do to be their customer.

Well done.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fountain of Youth?

After being gone a couple of weeks, I returned home to see my wife.  Living apart has been really hard, and while I have plenty to do at my new job, it does get pretty darn lonely at night.

Upon arrival at home, I was in the kitchen in the morning, fixing myself a cup of coffee, when my wife stopped me and said, "You know, you look younger."  


She went on to explain that the last couple of months she had really become concerned about me.  I didn't look good.  My color was off.  I wasn't sleeping well.  I looked tired and I looked old.  

Not anymore.

I later went to an event at Lambeau Field that was being held by my old employer as I needed to pick up some things for my impending move, plus I'd been wanting to pick up a turkey blind.  One of the first people I bumped into was a guy that had only recently joined our company.  He walked up to me, shook my hand, and immediately said, "You look younger."

Later still, I ran into a friend, and together we took a selfie and sent if off to another friend.  That person exclaimed upon receiving the picture that I looked 10 years younger.

I'm not sure if any of this is true, and if it is if it will last, but it's nice to know that, at least to a couple of people, I look like I feel.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Latest Weird Thing Stuck in My Head

I have a really weird memory.  Mrs. YDP constantly asks how in the world I know what I know. It is really great for trivia contests. But beyond facts and figures, other things that are stuck up there are unfortunate things like advertising jingles from the 70's, one-hit wonder songs, and intricately clear memories of just about every time in my life in which I hurt others. 

I thought I might share some of what is currently rolling around.  Growing up, I loved All Star Wrestling.  While the action was some spotty (Kenny "Sodbuster" Jay was ALWAYS going to get his ass kicked), the personalities were fantastic, as were the advertisers.

One such advertiser was Otto Blihovde.  Who is this Otto Blihovde, you might ask?   Well, let's just take a little trip to Michigan (or North or South Dakota) and find out:

Just like lutefisk, Otto is an acquired taste.  That being said, I can pretty much guarantee he sold thousands of albums advertising on wrestling in the 1970's in Minnesota.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

I have been reading and podcasting on a lot of apologetics lately, and it has really deepened my faith.  There is so much in secular society that tries to downplay Christianity, but when one truly looks at the facts (and make no mistake, there are plenty of facts) there is little doubt that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior.

The biggest thing of all is the resurrection.  Hundreds, if not thousands, saw Jesus die with their own eyes.  Then, later, thousands more saw him resurrected.

Without the resurrection, the historical Jesus perhaps could have been a profit, magician, or some enlightened soul.  With the resurrection, He proves who He claimed to be all along, the Son of Man, the Lamb, the Alpha and the Omega, the Way and the Light.  He is our reconciliation.  He is our hope.

He is Emanuel.  He is God Among Us.  He is our salvation.

With that, I extend to you a wish for a happy Easter, in all that it means.


Matthew 28

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Peter Gabriel - Father, Son

Hat tip to my brother on this one.  I didn't even know this song existed, and I'm richer now that I know it.  


Friday, April 14, 2017

The Sorrowful Mysteries - Jesus Experiences Nearly All Human Suffering?

I've been logging a lot of road hours, and when on a long trip, I'll often say a rosary.  With it being Lent, I've been focusing on the Sorrowful Mysteries.

In contemplating them on a recent ride, I was struck by how the Mysteries pretty much covered all the bases of human suffering.  Consider the following:

  • The Agony in the Garden - Here Jesus is betrayed by one he loves.  Our heartbreak from those that we love is usually just that - heartbreak.  Betrayal is certainly hard, but it usually never ends up in us being killed.
  • The Scourging at the Pillar - Jesus is beaten mercilessly - nearly to the point of death.  His flesh is torn and His body is battered.  The physical pain He suffered has to be more than most will ever be asked to endure, regardless of the circumstance.
  • The Crowning of Thorns - It is not often that the taunts and ridicule that we endure come with thorns being thrust into our scalps.  Words can cause pain.  The crown takes things to a whole other level.
  • Carrying the Cross - This one has multiple parallels.  The first is the most obvious of the cross, and what the means for all of us as we bear our crosses.  The second is the meeting of His mother, and knowing He was going to die.  Looking into Mary's eyes and seeing Her pain had to kill Jesus as much as the cross would eventually do.
  • The Crucifixion - Here Jesus dies, but in a manner much slower, much more painful, and much more horrible that we'll ultimately endure.
The bottom line to all this is that Jesus knows our suffering.  Not just because He's God, but because He endured it just like we do.  As a human.  He knows what it all feels like.

Why do we have to suffer in the first place?  Kids, if I knew that, I'd sell a lot of books.  But what I do know is that, even when we're at the deepest and darkest point, we know Somebody that's shared our fate, if not had things imminently worse.

I somehow find comfort in that, and feel that maybe when some day I meet Him and tell Him of my woes, He'll look at me, nod, and tell me, "I know, my child.  I know."

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Event For American Ninja

I'm currently staying at a rental house until our place back home sells and we can buy a new place.  There are a couple of things to like about the rental.  First, it is located directly on Detroit Lake, which makes for a great location for a walk or a run.  Second, it is within walking distance of two of Detroit Lake's most famous bars.

It was one evening after spending time at one of those establishments when I returned home to the rental house.  One of the nice things about the house is that it has an automatic lock on the front door - just punch in the code, and you're in.  No need for any pesky keys.

As I arrived I opened the screen and punched in the code.  Instead of being met with the flashing green light and sound of the door opening, I was instead met with a flashing red light and a loud BEEP BEEP BEEP.  No worries, I must have fat fingered the code, so I tried again.  BEEP BEEP BEEP.

OK, this isn't that hard.  The code was impossible to forget, and it knew it was correct.  All I needed to do was go slow.  BEEP BEEP BEEP.

Oh, crap.  It's now 10PM, I have no key, and the door is locking me out.  Houston, we have a problem.

I decided to check the other doors to see if I could possibly catch a break.  Unfortunately, both the garage door and the deck door were locked.

Come on!  It can't be this hard!  Just type in the code slow!  BEEP BEEP BEEP.

OK, there's a boarder that lives downstairs in a mother-in-law apartment.  I guess I need to wake him up.  Well, the beers he enjoyed during the hockey game must have worked as he never stirred to repeated doorbell rings and pounding on his window.

Now what?  I could sleep in my car, or perhaps head to a hotel.  However, I didn't have a change of clothes, and didn't want to show up at my new job in what I wore yesterday.  That'd get folks talking...

One more try...BEEP BEEP BEEP

Maybe, just maybe, there might be a window that would open.  I went back to the deck, as I vaguely remembered thinking that the kitchen sink window was open when I noticed it doing dishes one night.  I climbed the deck, and was pleased to find that the window had no screen.  Whew - break #1.  I then leaned over the railing and tried to push the window open.  Lo and behold, break #2.

Now the bad news - the window was not over the deck.  In fact, I'd need to shimmy on a narrow and weak-looking railing and then try to fit through a very small window.  If I fell, or the railing broke, I'd likely break something, and given the Coors Light the downstairs boarder was sleeping off, I wouldn't been found until much later the next day.  

The stakes were high, but it was a risk I needed to take.  I hiked my way onto the railing, eventually got a death-grip on the kitchen faucet, and hauled my fat butt through the window.

For perspective, here's what I accomplished entering:

I put my size 11.5 shoe on the ledge for scale.  It was a very tight fit.

I now carry physical keys with me every time I go out, even though the door appears to be working just fine now.  I also will be submitting this as a new event to American Ninjas.  

Don't try this at home, kids.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

5 Ways a Morning Run Will Change Your Life

It is really tough for me to work out at night, hence I log most of my road time in the early morning hours before work.

This video really spoke to me, and I wanted to share it with you all.

See you out there tomorrow morning:

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I Make Them Proud?

As part of my leaving, I was in touch with my alma mater about potentially spending some of my advertising with them; likely as part of a stadium signage package.  Other priorities got in front of it, and I ran out of time to pull it all together, hence I needed to reach out to my contact there and let him know that a deal wouldn’t be in the offing prior to my leaving the company.

He handled the news really well and totally understood the circumstance.  When then talked about my new opportunity – where it was and what I’d be doing.  He was quite aware of the company as it is run by two alumni, and he had nothing but great things to say all the way around.

We finished up our conversation by him wishing me the best on the new opportunity and thanking me for considering them for the opportunity.  He then closed with, “You make us proud.”


My whole life I’ve been very proud of my school.  Just about everything about it I admire.  More than anything else it probably molded me into the man I am today, hence I hold it in high regard.  But to hear it turned around, and to hear them say that I made them proud, well that was just wonderful to hear.

I know I was getting sales guy talk, and I shouldn’t read too much into it, still it made me feel incredibly good, especially as I step into a new direction.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Left's Tolerance

A couple of days ago, I opined that Pepsi's Kendall Jenner video would be burned by the Left if it was in book format.

I'm not the only one that thinks things have gotten out of hand with our "progressive" friends:

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Friday, April 7, 2017

Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad and Liberal Outrage

As you're likely aware, media (both social and major) have piled on Pepsi for being so "tone deaf" in their production of an ad featuring Kendall Jenner.  Here is the offending ad:

It could not have been more Lefty.  Every bleeping lefty stereotype was included here, and all in your face.  However, despite it being a thorough homage to all things liberal, it was received with nothing but vitriol and hate from the Left.  

Why?  Because it leveraged the Black Lives Matter movement to sell soda.  Or so one would think.  Personally, I think the primary reason was that cops were treated too favorably, and there flat weren't enough dead pigs bleeding in the street.

This is yet another shining example that the real fascists are the Left.  Need proof?  If this video was a book, they would have burned it.  Every damned copy.

Think about that for a minute and let it soak in good and well.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bill O'Reilly the Next Cosby?

Despite a sanctimonious demeanor (he's quick to tell you he never drinks and offers a "Tip of the Day" at the close of most shows), Bill O'Reilly is in hot water.  Multiple cases of sexual impropriety are quickly piling up against him, and the whispers are getting louder.

I take no joy in this.  I'm a fan of his show (as my suffering wife can attest) and his "Killing" series of books are simply outstanding.  Unfortunately, Bill appears to have a problem with the women with whom he works.

I'm not judging.  Are you a freak?  Well, my friend, there are outlets for that which are easy, easy, easy to find.  Especially for a guy worth tens of millions.  The last place you need to be flying your freak flag is a work.  With people that respect and admire you.

Bill looks dirty.  His responses to the allegations have a really funky smell.  Payouts have been increasing.  New stories are leaking.

American hero to zero, akin to Bill Cosby?  We'll see.  Right now, it doesn't look good. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Susan Rice Unmasks Surveillance on Trump Team - Nobody Cares

Susan Rice is in hot water.  She "unmasked" intelligence about Trump and his team ahead of the election, seemingly only for political reasons.  This is outrageous behavior that very well may be criminal.  What Nixon did is chump change compared to this.

And yet, the only place you'll see this story is on right leaning news sources.  Nothing on CNN.  Nothing on the StarTribune.  Nothing.

Forget the concept of fake news.  When news outlets fail to inform the populace due solely to their political agenda, they're complicit in obstructing justice. 

That, in and of itself, is criminal.

Where are you getting your news, and what are they saying about this story?  If anything?

Monday, April 3, 2017

Wood Duck House Cleaning

This past weekend, Fuzzy and I opened up the duck camp.  We found a mess, and spent most of our time cleaning it up, which likely wasn't a bad thing as it kept us from our usual sloth, TV viewing, beer drinking, and overall debauchery.

One of the things we did is an annual cleaning of all of the wood duck boxes we have on the property.  We had 19 out there in total, and after inspection, found 7 had hatched broods.  Two looked like they may have been visited by predators, so that my have cut into our total, but still, not a bad .368 average.

We also placed another one, giving us an even 20 for the property.

Given the broods raised and the ducks bagged, it's pretty clear that we're raising far more birds than we're harvesting.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Gift From My Team

Upon my departure, my team provided me with a word cloud for things that they felt described me.  The cloud gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text - e.g. the more folks say "handsome," the bigger the word "handsome" is.

Here's my cloud:

To say I was flattered was a complete understatement.  

Am I all that?  Lord knows I don't feel I am.  I feel a fraction of what is presented here, and certainly unworthy of something like "hero," (which did actually make me break down when I found it.)  Me?  A hero to someone?  Wow.

What it perhaps does show is that I did make an impact and perhaps a difference.  Ultimately, that what we're all charged to do.

It is one of the nicest gifts anyone has ever given me, and I'm humbled to receive it.

Even if nobody said "handsome!"

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Bryan Adams and Tina Turner - It's Only Love

Taken from the height of both of their popularities.  While I'm not a very huge fan of either, their combined effort is a monster.  A couple of take-aways here:
  • Think there is a little bit of stage presence here?  Holy cow.
  • How nice to see a live vocal performance, as opposed to some lip synch and/or autotuned crap.
  • Ditto Adams' guitar playing.  While he played a distant rhythm, his leads were clearly him.
  • Who would have thought that two distinctly different performers could have hatched something so vibrant?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Chanhassen Principal - 10 More Counts of Child Porn

In Fuzzy's home town, the StarTribune is reporting that the former high school principal has been charged with an additional 10 counts of possessing child porn.  This highlights yet another example where teachers sure appear to be the leading sexual predators.

I'm creating a new label for these on this blog, as they need to be highlighted.  This is happening way, way too often.

Also, last week the StarTribune ran an article related to priest sexual abuse of a child, but they just so happened to leave the comments section up.  One could imagine what kind of comments it solicited.  

Funny, in all their stories of teachers abusing kids, I've never seen a comment section allowed.  Not once.

I pointed that out (via a comment) and lo and behold, the comment section disappeared.  Still, their bias was, and continues to be, obvious.

Note, I condone none of this.  Any person that sexualizes a child deserves more than I could ever describe here.  But let's not protect a profession that we hold on a pedestal while treating the church as a bastion of abuse.  

It's not.  

Schools?  I'm not sure... 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

In-Room Coffee Sucks

It seems no matter where you go, and no matter where you stay, one thing is constant in travel: the in-room coffee you will experience will taste like crap.

Why in the world is that?  Many times, places will even have some kind of gourmet offering like Starbucks or Wolfgang Puck, however even those come out tasting like the Folgers served in a church basement.

Perhaps it's the water in hotels.  Perhaps it's the machines themselves.  Regardless, the experience is ultimately and always unsatisfactory.


Next on the gripe list?  Hotel breakfasts!  Stay tuned... 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Last Day Regrets?

I spent my last day at work in Minnesota; closing off some relationships and making sure they were adequately transferred over.  One of those relationships was with the Minnesota Vikings.

The photo is from a helmet that was sitting on their front desk when we checked in.  Of course, it had to be of my favorite player, Harrison Smith.

If you're a reader of this space, you likely know of my love for my favorite football team.  I'm a huge fan, and have been so for most of my life.  And to think that I was able to negotiate a massive million dollar win-win sponsorship with them as part of my job still seems surreal.  I can't believe how fortunate I was to be able to do that kind of work.

As we were walking through the stadium and I was able to see my work team's handiwork on full display, I felt a huge sense of pride.  I was immediately was struck by the thought, "What in the hell are you doing?  Why are you walking away from this?"

Almost as instantly, another voice was in my head and answering the question: "Because it's just not worth it."

Indeed, the stress, psychosis, abuse, and misalignment with my core values was so weighty that I'd walk away from doing things like being able to partner with my favorite sports team of all time.  

That seems a horrible shame, but quite telling at the same time.  

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

First Day Recap

Not sure how things could have gone much better for my first day at work.  Here are the activities of note:

  • My agenda was full all day, as it is for most of the week.  I've already got a lot to do, and I won't even be able to get to the work part until late today because...
  • My time has been spent in orientation.  It's incredibly thorough, and has already provided me a deep understanding of the company.
  • Even lunch was choreographed, and I had a lunch date with my boss and other leaders.
  • Speaking of my boss, she picked me up at 5 and drove me around town; pointing out things to know and places to go.
  • I was then taken to dinner by her and other leaders.
My day ended with one of the CEOs shooting me an email at 7 last night, confirming something we had been discussing earlier and reiterating to me how great it was to have me on their team.

I know I'm only a day into it, but after a couple of cultural nightmares in my past, this sure feels good. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Song for the Start of a New Job

You know that us here at YDP love the Foo Fighters, and consider them the last rock band still standing.  While I've already featured this song in a previous Saturday music post, I bumped into it recently, and felt it appropriate relative to the start of my new job today:

Oh sweet ignition be my fuse
You have no choice you have to choose
Bid farewell to yesterday
Say goodbye I'm on my way

But in the end we all
Come from what's come before 

So here...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Wild Slide

After being one of the most dominant teams in the NHL for most of the season, the Wild have been in an absolute tailspin; losing 9 of their past 11 games.  Their losses haven't been flukes - they suck across all aspects of the game.

The most noticeable part of their poor game is their distinct lack of hustle.  This team got where it did via its speed and positioning.  Now, they're not fighting for pucks and they're easily shoved out from in front of the net.  It is gutless, ugly play.

They did enough early in the year to clinch a playoff birth last night, despite a brutal 4-2 loss against a poor Vancouver team, but make no mistake, without an 180-degree change, this team is going the way of the Gopher basketball and hockey teams and will be one and done in the post season.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Chuck Berry and Keith Richards - Nadine

Nobody influenced rock and roll more than Chuck Berry.  His riffs, use of the guitar solo, and stage presence are still being plagiarized to this day.  Deservedly so.  The man was a pioneer and a genius.  

He also passed away last week after a 90 year life, and while his corporal life may be ended, his musical life will continue to live on in perpetuity.  

To quote Bob Seger, "All Chuck's children are out there playin' his riffs..."

They will continue to do so.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Fish Casting Drone

Can't make that long cast?  Still cast with two hands (right, Fuzzy)?  Can't get that lure in the perfect placement?  Just whip out your drone and get to catching that big one:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Outdoor Run Doesn't Stink

My schedule and the weather afforded a rare run outdoors on Monday morning this week.  It has been a while since I've been able to do so - last outdoor run was in Sedona a couple of weeks ago, and the hilliness of the area really made it a task.

I do enjoy the morning runs around here.  Typically, I'm out the door and on the road a little before 4:00AM, and as one would guess, I have the road to myself.  At this time of year, I'm out there well before the sunrise, so I'm often greeted with a nice moonscape and/or a sky of stars.  Ultimately I'll meet up with the guy delivering papers (he's about the only one I see), and I'm usually back and working on my first cup of coffee by 4:45.

Most of the time, I won't go when there's a chance for ice or frost on the ground, as it's just not worth the risk of injury, hence I'm pretty safe.  The only time I was in peril was a couple of months ago.  I was running down the road as something on my right which was moving caught my eye.  I turned to my right, and in the moonlight I could clearly make out the biggest skunk I had ever seen in my life running right at me.

He was making a beeline for the road, but at the same time some early-riser was in their car, also on my right (I run opposite of traffic) and he was making a beeline for the skunk.  Given speeds and trajectories, it looked like we were all going to meet each other.  That meant that the skunk would get hit, and spay everywhere (including me) or he'd make it just past the car, would be scared and pissed off, and would run right into me.  I had already begun to figure out how I would call into work to tell them I wouldn't be coming in as I had been sprayed by a giant-sized Pepe Le Pew as I was sure this wouldn't end well.  

As we all came together it looked for sure like the skunk would get hit, however by some miracle, he must have turned at the absolute last second because as the car passed, he was nowhere to be found.  

I still don't know what happened, and how he didn't get hit.  He just flat disappeared like Scotty beamed him up.  Regardless, I came out of the situation smelling like a rose.

Or at least smelling like a runner that didn't get sprayed by the biggest skunk in all of Wisconsin.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Sad State of Minnesota Sports

With our impending return to the state, Minnesota is suffering from sports futility.  How bad are things?  Let me count the ways:

  • Despite being one of the best teams in the NHL for much of the season, the Wild have backslid and now are looking up at Chicago in the rankings.  We'll make the playoffs, but our fate will be ended at the United Center, if we even make it that far
  • Despite having one of the best young teams on paper, the Twins will continue to suffer.  How bad is it?  Bung Ho Park has a good chance at making the club.  I'm not kidding.  This team is looking at another 100 loss season.
  • Despite a resurgent season the the Big Ten coach-of-the-year, the Gophers went one and done in the NCAA tournament as a 5 seed, losing to a 12.  Sure, they were impacted by injuries, but holy cow, Middle Tennessee?
  • Despite making multiple moves in free agency, the Vikings are not appreciably better.  Their offensive line, a massive need, was only upgraded slightly, and other adds have been marginal.  Likewise, losses of Mudderlyn and Patterson are going to hurt a whole lot.
  • Despite being located in The State of Hockey, the Gopher Hockey team continues to disappoint.  They did make the NCAA tournament, but as far as the Big Ten tourney went, they placed exactly zero players to the All Tournament Team.  One and done for them as well?
Ugly?  Yep.  But it's home. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

These Breeks are Made for Walkin'

Every year, I wore traditional breeks to work on St. Patrick's Day to help celebrate the feast of my patron saint and to allow me to get to the bar without stopping at home to change clothes.  At every place that I worked, my regalia was welcomed and appreciated.

Not at the current gig.  That's not "our way."

There, we dress for success.  That means business casual every day.  Despite the fact that we work for a farm store.  And despite the fact that we work in a facility that is an abject dump.  One in which paying for spy cameras is a smart expense, but having clean urinals is not.

So now I'm leaving.  I could push it and wear the breeks anyway, and likely get perp-walked out of the building.  However, I only have a week to go, so I'll just head home after work, change clothes, and hit the bar with little delay.

However, I can promise you this: as sure as my thirst will be quenched by ample pints of Guinness this day, I will never, ever work at a place that won't appreciate my heritage, my breeks, and me.

Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Rounding Third and Heading for Home

The Wisconsin experiment is over.  

The current gig started as a port in a storm.  It afforded us the chance to avoid a previous misstep and not uproot our lives.  Beyond that, it enabled me to get back into the outdoor industry; an area of deep passion and love for me.  

However, there was significant baggage that came along with the job in the form of a caustic culture that is almost impossible to accurately describe.  Paranoid.  Abusive.  Punitive.  I have stories that you won't be able to believe, and should we convene some day for an adult beverage or two, I'll regale you with some of the more egregious ones.  It will astonish you.

Due to this culture, I've had my eye on the West for a while now.  That being said, I will admit that there was definitely some Stockholm Syndrome that I was experiencing, and there were parts of my job I absolutely loved.  I believe that I did my best and most meaningful work of my career while there, and I was willing to gut it out to see if a payday might be in the offing.

Unfortunately, things turned for the worst these past two months, and reached a crescendo during my annual review which was ultimately used to "put me in my place."  In my entire life - work, school, whatever - I've never had a critique of my work that was so ignorant of my achievements (none of which were mentioned in an hour and twenty-minute review - not one) and so unfairly focused and obsessed on making an example of me and lecturing me on how much I suck.  It was sick.

Once that was delivered, I knew my time there was over.  I could no longer work for a company that had just frittered away the last remaining scraps of respect I had for it.

Fortunately for me at the time, I was engaged in a great dialog with a company that had a hell of a story.  They are on a massive growth trajectory, have low-hanging fruit all over the place, and need a guy like me.  And they're in Minnesota.  And they fit outside a massively broad non-compete agreement I was forced to sign as part of my hiring.   

Was the new opportunity perfect?  No, but then again, nothing is.  Regardless, I'm energized and so bullish on the new job.  I've already sat in on a meeting via WebEx, and damn near cried seeing how normal they were and how they treated each other.  Likewise, I've already made contributions that have been so welcomed and so appreciated and were accepted without the paranoia of how my contributions were screwing the company or were stupid.    

I formally start in a couple of weeks, and I can't wait to return to my beloved Minnesota.

We're coming home.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 Minnesota All Hockey Hair Team

This year's installment of an appreciation of all things flow:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Courage or Faith?

There come times in all of our lives in which we need to take a bold step.  With it comes discomfort, ambiguity, risk, or pain, but it is still a move that needs to be made.  We know it.  It's time.

When we're faced with this fork in the path, there are two ways we can take it - we can either buck up with courage that we're doing the right thing, or we can have faith that there is Someone that has our backs and will be making sure that things work out.  The prior requires a firm grip on the handles of the roller coaster and concentration on what is coming next on the tracks.  The latter affords us the ability to loosen our grip, and actually be able to look around and marvel at what is flashing past us.

While it is surely possible to have both courage and faith, it is also easier to do so if faith is steadfastly present.  Likewise, I'd argue that when one has faith, courage is actually replaced with confidence.

Courage or faith?  It's up to us to decide.  Ultimately, when we're at these tough spots, my wish for all of us that we have the courage to have faith.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Rush - Time Stand Still

This is admittedly a really bad video, but it is an outstanding song from the mighty Rush (with some backing support from Aimee Mann):

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Saturday Song Share: Peter Gabriel - San Jacinto

I believe this to be Gabriel's finest song, even including his Genesis days:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Islam Meets Green Bay

You can't make this up, and from our local NCB affiliate here in Green Bay:

GREEN BAY - The Islamic Society of Wisconsin's Mosque, 1512 Velp Ave., was damaged when it was broken into on Monday by a 60-year-old Green Bay man.

John Michael Wescott, who had recently been released from jail prior to the incident, has been charged with criminal damage to property and trespassing.

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says it's not a hate crime.

Wescott was intoxicated when he broke into the mosque with ribs, beer and cigarettes.

Given that pork, alcohol, and tobacco are most clearly haram in Islam, this guy was batting 1.000 in inappropriate in his drunken search for a place to party.

This can only happen in Green Bay...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Today's Reading - Matthew 6:24-34

A very appropriate Gospel from today's mass:

Jesus said to his disciples:
"No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, 'What are we to eat?'
or 'What are we to drink?'or 'What are we to wear?'
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

Sufficient for a day is its own evil."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tuesday Night Mass

Tuesdays are my worst days.  At work, it represents the cumulation of two days of stress, panic, horrible time management, accusations, and drama.  

Monday is bad.  Really bad.  Tuesday is worse.

Because it is so crappy, I've been going to mass Tuesday nights.  I can't do daily mass in the mornings as I'm expected to have my butt in my seat by 7:00AM every work day, however one day per week we have a mass at night, and at 6:30PM it is just late enough for me to make it there if I protect my schedule enough at work.

What a salve it has been.  Many times, mired in the garbage that is my standard Tuesday, I think hard about the fact that I'll force things to leave on time, and will be able to partake of the Eucharist later if I can just muddle through.

It is a small mass in our chapel and is usually presided by my favorite priest, Fr. Scott.  A good-looking 20 something, Fr. Scott is as hilarious as he is passionate about our Lord.  He's quick with the one-liners as well as connecting his homily to the gospel.  I'll likely be writing of the best lines he's used in some future post (here's a taste - in closing mass last month, he stated, "Please let us pray for Fr. John on his trip to Florida.  Let us pray for his safe travels and that he returns to us refreshed.  Amen.  Since Fr. John is leaving, and I'll be there alone, and that means there will be a major rager in the rectory all week long, so stop on by, but BYOB.")

It is just what I need at the end of what has usually been two crappy days.  And you know what?  The rest of the week is pretty darned good as a result.

I don't think that's a coincidence.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Randy Wants Me Dead

A couple of months ago a guy called me up at work and wanted me to basically pay him money for him to ride around and advertise our business.  I listened to his pitch, told him I'd get back to him, then completely forgot about it.

Turns out he didn't forget about it.  Not in the least.  Here's the voicemail he left me:

I'm not sure that I've ever had someone threaten to kill me before.  

Fun times.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mom

75 years ago today my Mom was born.  My siblings and I were able to spend a long weekend with her in Chicago celebrating that incredible milestone.  Our agenda was a full one:

  • We had an incredible lunch a Eataly
  • Took an architectural boat tour up the Chicago river
  • Saw a production of Hamilton that has all of us still completely blown away
  • Breakfasted at Trump's restaurant (Michelin 2-Star) at his shiny, new tower
  • Walked much of the city - logging over 10 miles hiking on Saturday alone (and Mom not only kept up, but led much of the charge)
  • Relished a fantastic dinner at Blackbird (Michelin 1-Star) where we toasted Mom over Dom Perignon, a 100 point Cab, and a desert wine that was casked in the year of her birth - 1942.
  • Ate the best pancakes I've ever had in my life
  • All done in the splendor of 60 degree weather in Chicago in mid-February
Though it all we enjoyed the unique opportunity to just be a core family.  All of this was achieved despite my sister fighting through a terrible cold, but absolutely gutting it out for the entire event.

I think Mom loved it.  I know I did, and it will be one of those trips that we'll talk about every time we gather for the rest of our lives.   

In looking back, we did a lot.  However, compared to all Mom has done for all of us, the ledger didn't even tilt.  We could do weekends like this for decades and still not repay the debt that we all owe her.  She is truly that incredible, and is truly that influential on our lives, both past and present.

Happy birthday, Mom.  You are loved more than you could ever know. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Heart Based Decision Making

From a recent blog post by Dan Rockwell comes a really unique method of decision making.  As opposed to traditional methods of decision making, Rockwell suggests we also look inside our hearts and answer the following:

What does courage/confidence tell you to do?
What does humility tell you to do?
What does integrity/honesty/openness tell you to do?
What does flexibility/agility tell you to do?
What does perseverance tell you to do?
What does compassion/kindness tell you to do?
What does decisiveness tell you to do?
What does respect for others tell you to do?
What does passion tell you to do?

What does seeking the best interests of others tell you to do?

This isn't the end-all of decision making (writing out all of the pluses and minuses still works for this scribe), but it is another factor to weigh into the equation.

Pretty enlightening stuff, especially when applied.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Progressive" is Not Progressive

Good video that calls out a lot of the discrepancies that I see with the progressive movement.  Interesting stuff:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Gustav Nyquist High Stick on Spurgeon

It is one thing to high stick a guy and put his livelihood at risk.  It is another thing altogether to lie about your motivations:

Be a man, for Pete's sake, Gustav.  You'll have the chance to do so when the NHL suspends you, so don't blow it.

Dirty play = dirty player.  Period.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

To My Valentine

Here we are again, huh?  In a life full of twists and turns we stand at a crossroads, wondering what is the best thing for us to do.  That seems to happen a lot to us, and maybe we're given this many opportunities because we can handle it.  Or maybe it's just the way life is.

Regardless, we've been through a lot:  amazing times that are burned into my memory, sad periods of loss that at times felt unbearable, and scary times as we fought, and beat cancer.  Through them all, all I need to to is just turn to my right and there you are.  Right beside me.  Firm grip on my hand.  Always.

The older I get, the more I recognize how much I don't know.  Rarely are things ever black and white, and I'm constantly amazed at how many hues of gray there are.  However, there are a couple of things that are constant.  The Vikings will break my heart.  A beautiful sunrise is thrilling.  And I love you more than any words I can put down on this blog.

That has never changed.  It will never change.  And that is why, no matter what life throws at us, we'll get through it, and we'll ultimately look back and smile because we did it together.

Like we always do.

I love you so very much.  Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2017


Not sure what is happening here at camp YDP, but folks, I am stuck.  For the past number of months and for the life of me, I simply cannot get going.  I used to pride myself on a strong work ethic, but it has all but left me.  Oh, I'm still cranking things out at work, although that has slipped some as well.  However, it is the things outside of work that has me concerned.

This blog is a prime example.  I used to be proud that I'd have a new post every day.  Writing not only felt cathartic, but it was a creative muscle that I flat needed to exercise.  Now, I feel empty, and that I have nothing to offer.

Tasks around the house are slipping.  Even big ones like doing Christmas cards and my annual calendar for my hunting crew just flat didn't happen.  

I'm not sure what is driving it, but it is of some concern.  I'll keep you posted, likewise, you'll know how I'm doing by the frequency of what you see posted here.

Wish me luck...